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Young Chamber programme is a success

West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce has been reflecting on a successful first year of its innovative Young Chamber programme.

It is one of the first Young Chambers in the country to offer free memberships to schools, and is one of the fastest growing Young Chamber networks in the UK, already providing business insight to over 950 students in the area.

The West Cheshire and North Wales Young Chamber was founded last year following the launch of the chamber’s ‘Vision 2021’ and results from a survey commissioned by the British Chambers of Commerce, which revealed that 88% of employers didn’t believe school leavers were ‘work ready’.

Its sole purpose is to help bridge the gap between businesses and the education sector helping prepare students for the workplace.

The new programme has received warm support from the local business community, with over 80 sponsors secured over the past 12 months.

Young Chamber sponsors were invited to celebrate the first-year anniversary at a Sponsor’s Lunch at Village Hotel Chester St David’s in Ewloe, which included several sponsors presenting how they have supported the programme and how it has helped shape their own services.

Sanctuary Housing Association spoke about the vital work they deliver to young people in Blacon, and Tree Frog Digital Ltd discussed their own involvement, offering their support to autistic students in the programme and something they’ve been involved in previously.

Lynne Swinnerton, from Lomani Luxury Travel, also spoke about her engagement with Young Chamber so far.

Many sponsors of the programme have visited the eight schools in the area who were part of the first wave of the Young Chamber school recruitment, providing mock interview sessions and mentoring, providing local schoolchildren with specific sector insights, live briefs, work experience opportunities and entrepreneurship tasks.

Debbie Bryce, deputy chief executive of West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce, said: “To see the Young Chamber programme grow so much in just 12 months – becoming one of the fastest Young Chamber initiatives in the UK is amazing and testament to the demand for this type of proposition.

“We are so proud to be facilitating the collaboration with local schools, Young Chamber sponsors and students, working together to tackle the skills gap. We can’t wait to see what the next year will bring.”

Pictured: Young Chamber sponsors support Empowering Women's Day

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